| Jens Thieme views and discussions | Jens Thieme views and discussions | Jens Thieme views and discussions

Giving Rubber for SCIP

Road trip to SCIP Barcelona

Another European SCIP conference - this time in Barcelona, Spain. Meeting old friends again and making new ones. Yet: something drastic was different: No air travel! A SCIP Competitive Intelligence Magazine article, by Jens Thieme and Michel Bernaiche.

Michel and I - two fellows who originally met at a Northern European intelligence gathering - decided to make the trip to another SCIP conference a journey to remember. Read on my friends, you might be planning a cool appearance at this year's Vienna Conference just for kicks.

Download the pdf version of this CIM article here.

Great European CI Summit detour

Of Bears, Doughnuts and Chemistry, by Jens Thieme and Michel Bernaiche

The European CI Summit, SCIP November 2010 in Barcelona attracted 200 attendees from 22 different countries around the world with attendees.  But this is a story about a pair of friends who trekked their way through 5 countries over 4 days in an effort to continue and build their friendship that began at a CI gathering in Helsinki, Finland many moons back. When these two unsuspecting CI leaders in their respective companies Dunkin' Brands (the guys who feed you well even when Hotel Mom is closed for vacation) and Ciba (the former world leader in specialty chemicals, owned by BASF today), ventured to Helsinki to participate in a CI forum geared to providing insights and conversations that would lead to further development of CI programs around the world - little they guessed about the career successes and mutual adventures ahead.

It was here, at an International dinner event that included such delicacies as pigeon, bear salami, frog leg and reindeer, that a friendship was born that should not only bridge continents but business fields as far apart as doughnuts and automotive additives. For years to come, these two thought leaders in the world of CI, would meet in 9 different countries over the course of 4 years for one reason or another but mostly for the good of CI.

While chemicals and breakfast coffee hardly make a tempting combination these two remain just as passionate about CI as they did when they first met, though the true benefit of their meeting comes at the hands of the CI community at large. Jens and Michel as true ambassadors to the global CI cause have always remained interested in sharing thoughts, ideas and best practices in authoring, speaking and work-shopping in an effort to further elevate the relevance and longevity of CI.

So their trip to this year's European CI Summit in Barcelona, Spain began in Zurich, where the two discussed over espresso on the Limmat river, ideas around where the next Euro Summit could be in an effort to improve and further strengthen the eastern European CI community.  From there, they moved on to Bern where they had lunch and discussed the tough past two years that SCIP experienced and their related Board duties.  As daylight dwindled, they arrived in the quiet Souther Swiss Alps town of Naters where the two took part in one of their favorite traditions, toastings.

Onward, their travels took them to Lago Maggiore, Milan, Sion, Nice, Monaco and finally Barcelona - all by car - where they enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones and the refreshing absence of air travel nuisances. Charged with excitement from these newly shared adventuresand an updated tool box of fresh ideas for the CI community that was to gather in Barcelona the two set out to enjoy the company of hundreds of CI related professionals and offered their experience in workshops, sessions and meetings again.

While this profession proves time and again that it is not only exciting to engage in and build upon the global CI community offers value way beyond individual growth potential and networking opportunities: true friendship and shared engagement in the cause of progress as individuals and professionals don't know any boundaries here and this spirit was - once again - felt every minute in the meeting rooms and Hotel hall ways at the summit venue.

While the hotel (Hisperia Tower) was situated a bit off course from the stunningly attractive inner city attractions of Barcelona the hotel itself made up for the taxi rides at night. First class rooms, top notch break out facilities and excellent food for main courses and as snacks soothed the senses all along.

As the lodging and conferencing areas were separated in two main buildings the setup provided excellent access to the exhibit halls and major gathering places. Breakfast and afternoon snacks were offered right between the vendor community's booths and meeting areas which provided an outstanding opportunity for practitioners and vendors to stick together whenever outside of sessions. This energy and friendly atmosphere was echoed in the many break out sessions.

With an increased focus on interactivity this year's summit has to be judged as one of the most active, energetic and result oriented events in the history of SCIP events! Many participants took away a tremendous amount of new contacts, fresh ideas and immediately applicable learnings. While the key notes could become a bit more actionable and strategic for summits to come there are additional feedbacks that offer requirements by our members and participants: accessible c-level executives should be lured in to the format more and more to gain insights into the voice of the customer for CI practitioner's services to their decision makers.

Not to single out any of the sessions or workshops in this review but it bares mentioning that the most cheered upon speakers acted up to the challenge of increased interactivity with scores of creative ideas ranging from throwing candy into the crowd for active responses to mutually created work documents as key take-away's.

As with any of the past SCIP summits sadness kicks in when bidding each other farewell, thanking all contributors and supporters for massive value that was provided and for all the friends who disperse into the wide world. While Michel and Jens have yet to share their first calorie laden doughnut together, the ongoing joy, fun and experience shared, beginning with bear salami and temporarily ending with the last Spanish tapas in some idle, yummy Barcelona down town bar - the mind is already set for next year's adventure: a train ride across Europe to catch that chocolaty Sacher Torte in Vienna (Google is and you will gain weight and appetite already) and add on more friends and value for our jobs, once again bridging industries and geographies because the chemistry is just perfect as enabled by those excellent SCIP summits.

(Michel Bernaiche and Jens Thieme have become CI adventurers and visionaries over time and serve the global CI community at the SCIP board. Don't hesitate to take advantage of their energy and expertise and who knows: some more friendships and personal successes might just be around the corner...)

Find the current SCIP Competitive Intelligence Magazine here.